To conclude another shocking comeback, the Nuggets had another dominant second half to eliminate the Clippers in game 7, winning 104-89. After surprising the Jazz in round 1, with a 3-1 series comeback, this challenge seemed much more daunting. The Clippers were supposed to be the dynasty, them and the Lakers were supposed to meet in the Conference Finals since the start of the season. Denver had something to say about that.
As they have all playoffs, Jokic and Murray completely dominated this game. Jokic was dropping dimes, accepting double teams in the post before dishing to cutters or wide open shooters. Murray was making ridiculous shots all night, finishing with another 40 point game during these playoffs.
With all of the excitement and surprise of the Nuggets getting to the western conference finals, the Clippers are left in dismay. Before this season, they made their biggest ever free agency signing in Kawhi Leonard, last year’s finals MVP, and traded away their entire future for Paul George. Those two combined for 24 points in this game 7, and looked helpless especially in the fourth quarter.
It is another historic playoff exit for the Clippers, a franchise who never seem to reach their lofty expectations. They have still never made the conference finals, and their last second round series was also a blown 3-1 lead, that one being against Houston.
It is difficult to see where they can go from here. Without much in terms of cap space or assets to trade, they may not be able to alter much of this roster. Unless veterans want to sign for minimum deals, or they can package their bench players for a third star, we may see an identical Clippers team in 2021, which may have even more pressure on them to perform.
For the Nuggets, this is their first trip to the conference finals since 2009, when Carmelo was on the team. They have built this team extremely well and their young core is now ready for the challenge. Lead by Jokic, Murray, Porter and Harris, this Nuggets team is going to be very competitive for a while.